Recently, Eugene, Oregon (my home town) was recognized as the number one town for bicycle commuters per capita in the country. The national average in the US is about 0.6% and Eugene has 5.6% of its workforce commuting by bike on a regular basis. I thought, I should count the number of bike riders on the paths and streets on my way home.
What brought this about was my wife and I were riding by our downtown lot (we hope to build our house and live there some day, but that’s another post) and encountered a number of bicycles at the intersection just a block away, had to stop and wait for them to pass (we had the stop sign) and when the last cyclist rode through the intersection, he raised his arms in the common bike-rider-victory-position and shouted “Bike traffic! Woo hoo!”
We chuckled at that, but then really started noticing all the bike traffic. Ever since right before the local Business Commute Challenge, I have been trying to be diligent in riding rather than driving. I’ve managed since May 10 to only drive to work three or four days and ride the rest. A total of just at 600 miles commuting and riding to meetings.
And that was what prompted my counting. I had also perceived there seemed to be more bike traffic on the paths than the streets, so I separated my counting on last Tuesday’s ride home. About the first half of my ride is along the wonderful Riverfront Bike Path here in Eugene and the second half along very bike-friendly streets.
It seemed pretty much split equally. I encountered 45 bicyclists on the bike path and 39 on the streets. Just about 50-50. That actually surprised me a bit. My perception was that the paths seemed more crowded. I guess if you add in the pedestrians, they were.
Regardless, it was a beautiful ride home. And it has only furthered my contention that everything is connected. Because I now have over 2,500 miles on my bike (saving roughly the original cost of my bike by the gas I haven’t purchased), I’ve dropped 12 pounds (2 more than I wanted, so I’m trying to eat a little more), I’m in a MUCH better frame of mind when I arrive at work and I have seen the goslings grow along the path, I hear the birds chirping and even the wind in my ears.
Sure beats listening to talk radio on my commute.
“Bike traffic. Woo hoo!”